Why we joined the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury – Partner views

With the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury reaching its halfway point. NHC members and project partners First Choice Homes Oldham, Karbon Homes, Salix Homes, Thirteen Group, and Yorkshire Housing discuss why they got involved, their sustainability journey, and the importance of tenant interaction on climate change.

 

Paul Fiddaman – Chief Executive, Karbon Homes

“It’s been a real pleasure to get involved in the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury and I’m delighted that a number of our residents are playing their part in this first of its kind approach. Sessions are now well under way and we’ve received lots of positive feedback from residents on the progress that is being made so far.

This Climate Jury is part of what is set to be an exciting yet challenging journey, not just for individual landlords but for the sector as a whole.

Decarbonising our homes is an essential part of tackling climate change and as housing providers we play a vital role in this mission. However, for the work we do to be positive and valued, it’s important that we don’t just steam ahead with what we think is best, but that we work alongside our customers to make sure the solutions we provide meet their needs and aspirations.

The climate jury is a fantastic means of achieving this, keeping the customer at the heart of the work and embedding their voice into how the sector tackles climate change and achieves the net zero target.

I would like to thank the team at the Northern Housing Consortium and Shared Futures for inviting us on this journey with them and I look forward to following the progress of the jury and hearing the final recommendations presented at the NHC Summit later this year.”

 

Donna Cezair – CEO of First Choice Homes Oldham (FCHO)

“This is a very exciting time for our sector. Housing associations have a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of the country’s work to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero. By upgrading social homes to be more energy efficient and exploring more sustainable ways of working, we and other RPs can make a significant difference to our tenants and communities now and in the future.”

“At FCHO we are in the early stages of our sustainability journey, but we know that decarbonising homes is crucial for tackling climate change and delivering lots of other important benefits – from helping tenants to save money, reducing fuel poverty and providing quality homes that are fit for the future to boosting the economy and creating jobs too. We are absolutely committed to achieving this and have recently launched our Sustainability Strategy – our roadmap to providing sustainable and affordable homes for our tenants and minimising our environmental impact. We are implementing greener ways of working, including cutting the carbon footprint of our existing and new homes, boosting biodiversity in neighbourhoods, swapping petrol powered machinery for battery operated options, and upgrading our van fleet to more sustainable vehicles among other things. But we know that there’s much more work for us all to do and those who live in our homes must be at the heart of this, which is why the social housing tenants’ jury is so important and why we are so pleased our tenants are involved.

“I am delighted to be working with other RPs across the north of England and to see our tenants and their peers engaged and passionate about sustainability – they can really make a difference. The jurors’ views will not only shape our work here at FCHO and in Oldham, but they will influence policy in the wider housing sector and I’m excited to see the outcomes of their work.”

 

Sue Sutton – Chief Executive, Salix Homes

“Climate change is amongst the most pressing issues facing the world as we know it and the housing sector has got a huge mountain to climb in order to meet the Government’s Net Zero targets.”

“Here at Salix Homes, we’re passionate about the ‘customer voice’ and truly believe in the importance of listening to our customers, which is why we were so keen to get involved with the Social Housing Tenants Climate Jury, which firmly places residents at the centre of the green home upgrade journey, right from the start.

“We know that delivering green retrofits is not going to be an easy task – and without adequate customer engagement, effective planning, and communications, it’ll be very easy to fail. This is why we’re so proud to have customers who are part of not only the jury, but the Oversight Panel as well.

“The jury represents a new and innovative approach for the social housing sector and we’re incredibly proud to be there at the start of this journey to Net Zero, alongside the other jury partners in the North.

“The outcomes of the jury will inform our own Asset Management and Green Strategies, and as a sector, it’s essential we listen carefully to the recommendations of the jury, consider what it means for our industry, champion their views and ensure we continue to put our customers front and centre of our green journeys.”

 

Samantha Granger, head of environmental sustainability, Thirteen

“At Thirteen, our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we’re proud to be a part of the first Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury. It’s a fantastic opportunity to work together and gain essential insight from customers across the region.”

“As an organisation, we’re committed to reducing our negative impact on the environment and within the housing sector we all have such an important part to play in tackling climate change together.

“We wanted to be a part of the Tenants’ Climate Jury to not only ensure that our customers had a voice, but because we recognise the value in having a collaborative approach to the whole agenda.

“When we launched Thirteen’s take control campaign, which sets out our ambitions to reduce our carbon footprint and become a much greener organisation, we did this with our customers in mind. Whatever we set out to do will beneficial for them.

“By listening and understanding what our customers tell us will ensure they are on the journey with us. We want to understand how customers feel and what matters to them.”

“Retrofitting homes is a challenge and one which everyone is facing. This is about looking at what needs to be done to deliver sustainable homes which are fit for the future and that are right for our customers.”

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Resources are available on the NHC’s website here.

For further details contact Liam Gregson, Member Engagement Manager, NHC

 

 

Has lockdown changed our view of what we need from housing-led regeneration

Anna Seddon – Policy and Public Affairs Officer, NHC

Many of us over the last 18 months have built a different relationship with our local area which has led to changed expectations of ‘home’. I know that for me, the pandemic has made it much clearer that I expect ‘home’ to be safe, secure, sustainable, and connected to the wider area. For regeneration schemes to be successful in the future, these renewed expectations for high-quality homes in thriving areas that are resilient to future crises must be accounted for.

The pandemic has spotlighted the condition of our homes and our local areas which presents a golden opportunity to drive improvements in the spaces in which we live. We know that good-quality housing is fundamental to the social, environmental, and economic health of communities; improving the quality of existing homes in the North was central to the Commission on Housing in the North’s recommendations to revitalise places in the region. Housing renewal and wider regeneration schemes must now factor in our changed expectations to maximise potential benefits and ensure no one is left out of accessing these.

With new ways of working becoming more established and an increase in the number of people working from home, local areas have become places of work and leisure. Access to local green spaces, good local services and a warm, safe home have never been more critical. Like many others now without a daily commute, I’m spending more time in the area I live in Newcastle, and appreciating being near a large public park more than I ever have, especially being without private outdoor space. The pandemic has created new demands on local places as we spend more time (and often more cash) within them and it has broadened our ambitions for thriving, sustainable places.

Though post-pandemic planning should not be reduced to the redesigning of places for those who now work at home more often than they used to. ONS data shows that a quarter of workers worked from home at some point in 2019, this figure rose to around a third in 2020. While this increase is significant, homeworkers still only account for a small proportion of working age adults and the figures for some Northern towns were the lowest in England, with as few as 14% of employees in some areas having ever worked from home. Infrastructure to make life easier for those employed in sectors such as healthcare, construction, retail and hospitality must also be at the forefront of planning, such as increasing good, green transport links.

It’s five years since the publication of the Commission for Housing in the North’s report and we have a real opportunity to reshape communities into fairer and greener places for everyone. Underpinning the housing-led renewal of our local areas must be the commitment to a fair transition to a zero-carbon future. Housing’s role in this will be to deliver a neighbourhood-based approach to increase the energy efficiency of homes and manage the shift away from gas boilers to decarbonised heat to reduce emissions and improve housing quality in the North.

Renewing places across the region will also involve working with communities to support local businesses and encourage the spread of consumer spend, develop clean and integrated public transport, and invest in accessible green spaces and walking/cycling paths. This would reduce economic isolation and create more attractive places for mixed, sustainable communities to live.

Understanding and responding to altered expectations of housing will be fundamental to how cities and towns across the North adapt. We know a one-size-fits-all approach to post-Covid regeneration will not be sufficient to address challenges across the North, but a good starting point would be to connect our new relationships with ‘home’ to our response to the climate crisis, ensuring everyone has access to the benefits generated from the transition to net zero.

Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury Progresses Over Summer

Since late July the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury has been meeting, hearing evidence and deliberating together to answer the question ‘How Can Tenants, Landlords, and Others Work Together to Tackle Climate Change in Our Homes and Neighbourhoods’.

Although the Jury’s recommendations, part of a final report detailing their work, will be launched at the Northern Housing Summit in November, NHC members are able to follow the Jury’s progress on the NHC’s dedicated webpage. This includes recorded presentations from invited expert commentators.

Resource Overview

Session 1 – Welcome and Setting the Scene

In Session One the Jury completed the onboarding process with an evening dedicated to getting to know each other and the Shared Future team facilitating the Jury. An overview of the process was given and attendees developed shared principles to ensure the most was made of the Jury.

Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive, Northern Housing Consortium formally opened the Jury with brief remarks as to why the NHC alongside partners First Choice Homes Oldham, Karbon Homes, Salix Homes, Thirteen Group, and Yorkshire Housing, decided to establish the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury.

Session 2 & 3 – An introduction to the science of Climate Change, it’s Causes, and Impacts

Early sessions of the Jury were used to establish a baseline of knowledge around climate change. This began with a presentation by Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, the current Chair and Founding Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London.

Other speakers, including academics and practitioners, spoke to the Jury around the impact of climate change, the various sources of carbon emissions – ranging from energy, industry, agriculture and food, transport, as well as forestry and land use, and the specific contribution housing makes through domestic carbon emissions.

Session 4 & 5 – Housing Retrofit: What does it mean for the Tenant, Landlord, Environment, and Wider Society

From Session 4 the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury, the Jury began to narrow its focus from the wider implications of Climate Change science to housing retrofit and the processes and technology involved.

In addition to offering an overview of the kinds of interventions and renewable heating technologies that may become commonplace, invited commentators were asked to focus on the tangible impacts on tenants lives; visible changes to the home, the size of various types of renewable heating technology and where they are positioned on the property, how long it takes to install and any complications that might arise, and what could be expected in living in a retrofitted home.

In addition to commentators, the Jury also held a series of informal discussions with tenants who have experience of having their home retrofitted to understand the tenant experience first-hand.

Next Steps

The Jury recently met to reflect on their work to date and identify key issues they felt warranted further scrutiny and collate questions they felt remained unanswered. These will form the basis of future sessions as the Jury gradually turn towards developing their recommendations as to how tenants, social housing providers, and others can work together to tackle climate change in our homes and neighbourhoods.

Recordings of invited commentators can be found on the Jury’s dedicated webpage:

http://www.northern-consortium.org.uk/the-social-housing-tenants-climate-jury/jury-sessions/

The final report and recommendations of the Jury will be launched at the NHC’s flagship Northern Housing Summit taking place the 2nd and 4th November. NHC members can confirm their attendance, and non-members can purchase a ticket to the event via MyNHC:

https://www.mynhc.org.uk/event/general?id=Northern_Housing_Summit_2021190140910

First of its kind Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury meets tonight

The north of England’s first tenants’ climate jury will host its inaugural session tonight.

The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury is made up of 30 tenants from project partners First Choice Homes Oldham, Karbon Homes, Salix Homes, Thirteen Group, and Yorkshire Housing.

The project is being led by the Northern Housing Consortium (NHC), which represents the views of housing organisations in the North of England, and overseen by an independent panel.

The jury will consider how residents, social landlords and others can work together to tackle climate change in homes and neighbourhoods. It will make recommendations to the social housing sector on how tenants would like to see landlords approach the net zero challenge.

Shared Future, one of the UK’s leading experts in organising citizens’ juries, will be facilitating and running the sessions.

The jurors, selected to reflect the diversity of the social housing sector and holding varying opinions on climate change, will meet for 30 hours over ten jury sessions ending in the Autumn.

Jury sessions will be used to explore both climate science and impacts and the way climate change can be addressed at a local level. Jurors will hear from a series of invited experts, take part in group discussion, and work together with facilitators to develop recommendations.

NHC Chief Executive Tracy Harrison said: ‘With over 1 million social rented sector homes across the North requiring green upgrades, the scale of the challenge to transition to net zero is clear.

“Councils and housing associations are ready to rise to this challenge, but these are people’s homes first and foremost, and so we cannot succeed in doing this without talking with our tenants, understanding their concerns and motivations, and listening and acting upon their recommendations.”

The final report and recommendations of the Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury will be launched at the NHC’s Northern Housing Summit in November.

Each session will be recorded and members of the public will be able to watch these videos on the Northern Housing Consortium’s webpage on the Tenants’ Jury.

 

Social housing green energy schemes lead way on sector decarbonisation efforts

What do the pioneering ReFLEX Orkney project, the unique ‘Solopower’ solution, and the Government’s Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator all have in common? They are either led by or partnering with one innovative energy services company, SMS plc, which is on a mission to support housing organisations with long-term sustainability and fuel poverty targets.

The intelligent application of distributed green energy technologies – in tandem with new financing solutions that aim to make mass rollout across UK homes realistically deliverable and widely affordable – has potential not only to help Britain fully decarbonise, but also dramatically reduce rates of fuel poverty in the process.

Nowhere is this potential more readily realisable than within the country’s social housing sector. Today, local authorities and housing associations are involved in some of the country’s most promising local energy projects, working alongside innovative private sector partners to demonstrate viable routes to net-zero emissions in cost-effective ways.

Take ReFLEX Orkney: a pioneering scheme underway in the Scottish island community. The ReFLEX Orkney project, which is backed by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and being delivered by a consortium of energy innovators in partnership with Orkney Islands Council, aims to demonstrate the ‘integrated energy system of the future’ and decarbonise the archipelago by 2030 using flexible, distributed, clean technologies that link locally-generated renewable electricity with the islands’ energy demand.

SMS plc, one of the innovators and funders behind the scheme, has used its experience delivering the project (namely through developing its proprietary FlexiGrid™ platform that remotely manages distributed energy resources installed in homes across the islands) to begin partnering with the wider UK social housing market. In short, SMS’s Solopower solution takes two of the key technologies used in Orkney – solar PV and behind-the-meter battery storage – and installs and operates them intelligently in order to help landlords reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty across their housing portfolio.

Through this fully-financed, turnkey service, the objective is to significantly upgrade the energy performance of social accommodation at zero upfront cost. With proven savings from trial projects having successfully demonstrated how Solopower can decarbonise housing electricity by up to 90% per home and lower tenant electricity bills by up to 25% (achieving approximately £200 in savings per year), innovative energy solutions like these could offer UK housing organisations a verified gamechanger in supporting their long-term sustainability ambitions.

With much interest in Solopower since the launch in March 2021 – as was reported by Housing Association Magazine –  SMS is now already contracted to operate battery storage systems across 700 houses with a number of local authorities in Scotland. It is also leveraging its partnerships to drive yet more innovation that is seeing other green technologies added to the energy-saving concept.

Supported by the Government’s newly launched Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator, SMS in May announced a new project in partnership with Aberdeen City Council to deliver a programme of fabric upgrades and renewable energy technologies across 100 council homes. Building on what is already offered to social landlords through Solopower in terms of the installation and smart operation of solar panels and batteries, SMS is working with Aberdeen City Council and other delivery partners to add heat pumps and thermal-imaging technology to the design and delivery of the home energy system.

As with Solopower, SMS is financing the rollout of the assets at no upfront cost to the landlord or tenants and will intelligently operate the solar and battery system to decarbonise power supply. However, the key difference being that as part of this project’s fabric-first, whole-home approach, each property will be surveyed using thermal imaging technology to identify where fabric improvements are required to reduce space heating demand. Then, through retrofitting the homes and installing heat pumps, the objective is also to decarbonise heat supply alongside electricity, as well as making potential further significant gains in bringing down tenant energy costs.

Commenting on the project, SMS’s Head of New Energy Systems, Sean Keating, said: “The UK today faces the enormous challenge of developing intelligent, scalable models that can decarbonise the housing stock in ways that are both commercially viable and affordable for residents. SMS’s financing ability and innovative technology-led solution looks to develop a business model that encourages collaborative public and private sector investment on this front.

“Above all, the project is about creating a more sustainable future: one that ensures affordable comfort in our homes, reduces fuel poverty, creates jobs, and ultimately protects our environment amidst climate change.”

If you are interested in SMS’s Solopower solution, available exclusively for social housing landlords, visit the website sms-plc.com/solopower, where you can read more information including a downloadable brochure and FAQs. You can contact the Solopower team directly at solopower@sms-plc.com

New Partner Jennifer Robinson joins Ward Hadaway to expand firm’s social housing services

Jennifer Robinson, Partner in Ward Hadaway’s Built Environment Team.

Jennifer Robinson has joined as a Partner in Ward Hadaway’s Built Environment Team to grow the firm’s social housing offering to clients across Yorkshire and nationally.

Jennifer, who will be based at the firm’s Leeds office, has over 20 years’ experience in the social housing sector.

She will lead a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers, qualified plans technicians and support staff to provide a complete range of services to the social housing sector. Jennifer deals with all aspects of property work including site assembly, land acquisition and development for affordable and mixed tenure housing through a variety of structures, large scale portfolio acquisitions, disposals and securitisations, stock swaps, landlord and tenant matters, asset management and projects.

Commenting on her appointment, Jennifer said: “Ward Hadaway is a UK Top 100 firm with an excellent social housing practice and I’m delighted to be joining such a great team.

“The crisis in affordable housing has only been exacerbated by the current political, social and economic climate. My experience will help us develop further the firm’s full service offering, assisting both existing and new clients with their important work in this sector.”

John Murray, Partner and head of social housing at the firm’s Leeds office, said: “This is another significant appointment and I am delighted to welcome Jen to the team. Bringing in somebody of Jen’s calibre and experience clearly demonstrates our commitment to grow and expand our social housing service and position Ward Hadaway as one of the leading legal firms within this sector.

“The team has grown substantially over the last couple of years, and due to a number of new client wins, we are looking to further strengthen our social housing team with more appointments across all three regions where we operate in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.”

 

About Ward Hadaway LLP

Ward Hadaway LLP operates from three offices in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle

More than 450 members of staff and over 90 partners

UK Top 100 law firm

Rated as one of the leading law firms in the country by independent legal guides Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners

Ward Hadaway LLP is a full service law firm, meeting all the legal needs of five core client groups – the built environment sector, entrepreneurs and businesses, healthcare, public and third sector including education, and private individuals

For more information, please visit www.wardhadaway.com

 

Media contact:

For Ward Hadaway LLP’s built environment sector including housing, construction and social housing, please contact Craig Downs at Up North Communications on 07811 287 922 or email craig@upnorthcommunications.co.uk

For media enquiries regarding Ward Hadaway LLP, please contact Rachel McBryde at McBryde & Co on 07884 342 193 or email rachel@mcbrydeandco.com

Working together to help build the homes the UK needs

Even before Covid-19, the Government was far from reaching its target of delivering 300,000+ homes a year in England by the mid-2020s[1]. Now, the pandemic has had and will continue to have an impact on the national economy and the practicalities of building new homes[2]. Funding remains one of the main challenges. Availability and terms of financing for residential development has become very difficult for small housebuilding companies over the past decade or so. Lenders have drastically changed their attitudes to the sector since the Global Financial Crisis. Of course, lenders’ risk appetite relates to the risk and uncertainty inherent in the planning process on which developers are reliant[3].

 

We are actively lending and helping build more homes

Blend Network, the specialist development finance lender who’s runner-up for the 2021 B&C Awards in the Development Lender of the Year up to £10m category, offers flexible and straightforward funding to help build the homes the UK so urgently needs.

 

We want to work with local authorities and housing associations

We want to work with local authorities and housing associations to help deploy funding and build more homes. We are actively looking to partner with local authorities who dispose of council-owned land and property to be developed by the private sector. We want to become a strategic funding partner to local authorities who are eager to see rundown building re-developed and brough to life.

We recently provided funding to re-develop a former boot and shoe factory in Northamptonshire into 24 apartments[4]. Throughout the project, the developer worked with the local authority to enhance the planning for this grand Victorian building. This project is a clear example of how finding an alternative use for functionally redundant industrial sites presents one of the best opportunities of getting close to the UK Government’s housebuilding target of 300,000 new homes a year. And at Blend Network, we are eager to work with local authorities and housing associations to achieve this target.

Projects we fund include:

  • Ground-up developments
  • Residential, mixed-use and student schemes
  • Light & heavy refurbishments
  • Conversions

 

Contact us today

If you represent a local authority or housing association and are interested in working with us, contact our Chief Strategy Officer Roxana Mohammadian-Molina today:

020 8037 4014

roxana.mm@blendnetwork.com

www.blendnetwork.com

[1] www.commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7671/

[2] www.savills.co.uk/blog/article/301680/residential-property/what-impact-will-covid-19-have-on-future-housing-supply-in-england-.aspx

[3] Home Builders Federation: ‘Reversing the decline of small housebuilders: reinvigorating entrepreneurialism and building more homes’.

[4] www.propertyweek.com/news/blend-network-funds-victorian-shoe-factory-resi-conversion/5115203.article

NHC bursary scheme awards 12 bursaries to 7 of their member organisations

The Unlocking Success Bursary Scheme, funded through the Northern Housing Consortium Charitable Trust, awards bursaries of £500 to help tenants develop learning and skills to support future employment.

From April to June 2021, we had a total of 18 applications from 7 of our member organisations. We are delighted to award 12 bursaries to successful applicants. Below are a few examples of how the bursary will be used.

Francesa is a Habinteg tenant and has been a carer for her mother for several years. Despite this she  has still managed to gain a place at university to study Child Nursing. The bursary award will be used to help with her tuition fees, books, and course materials.

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Lewis is a tenant from Thirteen Group and will use the bursary to help him fund a career ambition of becoming a telecommunications engineer. The bursary grant will be used to pay for certain tickets and help him to achieve this ambition.

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Kate is a tenant from Thirteen Group and will use her bursary to help fund the rest of her studies in Midwifery. Kate has also become a chair for the midwifery society board, and she also volunteers for an organisation that helps with the bereavement of children.

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Paul is a tenant from Thirteen who is supporting his disabled wife and stepdaughter. He wanted to attend a course in barbering and cutthroat shaving while also having a part-time job. He would use the bursary to buy additional barbering tools. Paul is hoping that at the end of the course he will be self-employed. In his own words “Everyone will always need a haircut”.

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Sarah is a tenant from Gateshead Council who will use the bursary to help pay for a degree in Criminology & Psychology. She wants to use this degree to help people, pursuing a career as a support worker or police officer and in turn will help her support herself and her 2 small children.

Congratulations to this year’s successful applicants! Applications for 2021 are now closed, further details to follow in the coming months.

 

Decent Homes Standard Review : Update

The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government’s review of the Decent Homes Standard continues to progress. The first phase – which will run until September – is considering the case for change to the existing standard. Following a meeting in June, last Friday the NHC submitted written comments to Ministry.

Our previous submission in May explained our members’ view that a comprehensive Decent Homes Standard review should consider updating the list of building components to include new technologies and materials. We also explained that our members find that age is useful for asset management planning purposes but that the standard needs to be flexible enough to avoid replacement occurring solely based on age.

This time the submission was focussed on the modern facilities and services criterion, as well as additional questions on reasonable state of repair. We gave views on ventilation, reiterating members’ concerns that fuel poverty plays a big part in this issue ad that there is empirical evidence of customers not utilising ventilation solutions due to fears of heat loss. This demonstrates the need for greater use of technology to identify and monitor the ‘real’ usage of the home.

We told the review that members make extensive use of asset surveys, finding that they bring huge value to organisations, with stock condition surveys allowing them to collect information relating to the Government’s Decent Home Standard, but that members valued the ability to determine the frequency and scope of these surveys.

This phase of the review also began to look at issues ‘beyond the front door’.  NHC members told us that communal areas within dwellings, and facilities on the land around the premises which is owned or managed by the landlord, could fall within the scope of the Standard. However, we stressed the practical issues that might arise if a standard were set for neighbourhood issues over which landlords had limited influence.

Members felt strongly that homes and neighbourhoods should have a basic level of security including a requirement for to reduce fear of crime, avoidance of dead-ends, ‘rat runs’, throughfares, and considerations for sufficient lighting in communal areas and non-adopted highways.

This phase of the review also considered issues around digital connectivity, accessibility and electrical services.  The review will now move on to consider the ‘Thermal Comfort’ criterion, which is heavily dated and does not reflect the current government’s net zero commitments.

The NHC sends regular updates to members who have expressed an interest in the Decent Homes Review – providing an opportunity for members to contribute their practical experience of the current standard.  To add your name, email Kristina.Dawson@northern-consortium.org.uk

We are particularly grateful to St Leger Homes of Doncaster who consulted their tenants in the process of formulating their own response to the questions on ‘modern facilities and services’. The NHC have also presented on the review to tenants from the Sheffield City Region Together With Tenants Group, and we are happy to make similar presentations to NHC member staff teams or resident groups.  Please contact matthew.wilson@northern-consortium.org.uk

New research : operationalising the Green Book

Homes for the North, with support from the Northern Housing Consortium, has this week launched new research on appraisal guidance.  This follows revisions made to the Government’s ‘Green Book’ in 2020 and examines how appraisal guidance can be ‘operationalised’ to reflect levelling up. The research finds that the review of the Green Book will come to nothing unless serious thought is given to how, in practical terms, the appraisal system moves beyond monetising benefits to individuals such as land-value uplift, and moves towards truly valuing wider public benefits.

The study was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and included workshops with councils, housing associations and other partners with an interest in delivering more and better homes in the North. The report includes recommendations to government and to scheme promoters.

Commenting, NHC Executive Director Brian Robson, who sat on the steering group for the research, said:  “The NHC was pleased to support Homes for the North with this project. We hope the recommendations to scheme promoters, and the review of the existing evidence base, will prove of value to NHC local and combined authority members as they progress local schemes.”

The report can be downloaded here.